16 May 2007: EUMETSAT reported that Europe entered into a new era of meteorology and climatology when MetOp-A, Europe’s first polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was on 15 May 2007 officially declared operational after six months of commissioning. It was launched on 19 October 2006.
The data was first received two days after the end of the launch and on an Early-Orbit Phase. Now the full data flow from its instruments is available to users on an operational basis, offering better accuracy and resolution of different variables such as temperature and humidity, wind speed, ozone and measurements of trace gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.
MetOp-A gathers essential global information, day and night about the atmosphere, land and ocean surfaces. MetOp-A data is expected to significantly improve weather forecasting by direct assimilation into Numerical Weather Prediction Models that compute forecasts ranging from a few hours to upto 10 days ahead.
MetOp-A also gathers information on sea-surface winds which offer essential information to improve the determination of the motion of low pressure areas over the sea, in particular hurricanes.